UK Changes Course Amid Death Toll Fears

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UK Changes Course Amid Death Toll Fears

Change course or a quarter of a million people will die in a “catastrophic epidemic” of coronavirus – warnings do not come much starker than that.

The message came from researchers modelling how the disease will spread, how the NHS would be overwhelmed and how many would die.

The situation has shifted dramatically and as a result we are now facing the most profound changes to our daily lives in peacetime.

This realisation has happened only in the past few days.

However, it is long after other scientists and the World Health Organization had warned of the risks of not going all-out to stop the virus.

The crucial piece of evidence came from the scientists at Imperial College London who first realised the scale of the problem in China and whose advice is heavily influential in government.

They assessed three strategies:

  • Suppression – break chains of transmission, effectively trying to stop the epidemic in its tracks, and bring cases down as low as possible, as China has done
  • Mitigation – accept you cannot stop the coronavirus so slow its spread and prevent a massive peak in cases that would overwhelm the NHS while trying to protect those most at risk of severe disease, which appeared to be the UK strategy last week
  • Do nothing – and let the virus rip through the populationIt was on only Friday that Sir Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser, explained the mitigation plan to the BBC.

    He said: “Our aim is to try and reduce the peak, broaden the peak, not suppress it completely.

  • https://www.bbc.com.
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    “Also, because the vast majority of people get a mild illness, to build up some kind of herd immunity so more people are immune to this disease.”

    If mitigation worked it would have avoided the most draconian measures other countries have used and built up immunity, which would help limit the spread of coronavirus.

    Mitigation involves some social distancing strategies, while suppression beefs up those measures, including possible restriction of movement and increased periods of isolation.

    The modelling projected that if the UK did nothing, 81% of people would be infected and 510,000 would die from coronavirus by August.

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  • The mitigation strategy is better, but would still result in about 250,000 deaths and completely overwhelm intensive care in the NHS.

    The experience of Italy, and the first cases in the UK, led to this dawning realisation.

UK Changes Course Amid Death Toll Fears

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